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Laser designator (laser marker) beam should be visible in NV/IR
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As in description, various laser designator beams should be visible in NV/IR optics.

Most such devices use near infrared wavelength of 1.064 micrometers (1064 nanometers), produced by Nd:YAG solid state laser (see references). This wavelength is well visible with regular cameras with weak IR filters and with NV/IR equipment.

SOFLAM beams are well visible through NV - and, at the moment, so is the terminal point; hence, the beam should be visible as well.

Same applies for helicopter lasers used to guide missiles. See attached videos.

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DarkWanderer edited Additional Information. (Show Details)
DarkWanderer set Category to Feature Request.
DarkWanderer set Reproducibility to N/A.
DarkWanderer set Severity to None.
DarkWanderer set Resolution to Won't Fix.
DarkWanderer set Legacy ID to 1928815734.May 7 2016, 3:52 PM

Actually, the laser should not be visible in night vision, nor visible spectrum as the wavelength is over 1000 µm. This is a wanted aspect as the laser of the designator should not be visible with night vision devices as the enemy could spot the source.

The laser is also pulsed and not steady "on", to decrease the chance of two active laser targets which would confuse laser riding ordnance.

First, the fact that it's pulsed won't mean it won't be visible - CRT screens were also "pulsed". Pulses are very short and frequent (see datasheets).
Second, it's 1000 nanometers, not micrometers. 1000 micrometers is one millimeter - that's gonna be a maser (, not laser.
Third, 1 micrometer is in range of thermal radiation, hence it would be picked up by thermal
Fourth, the standard commercial NV cameras capture the range up to 1200-1500 nanometers with ease. Example: - 920 nm is considered optimum. For military-grade stuff, that certainly will also be true.

And fifth - watch that:
If you look around for more videos, you'll note, that helicopter lasers are also visible in NV IRL. So, that's also a thing to fix.

EDIT: Sixth: try picking up your smartphone and direct a TV remote into its camera, while pressing a button. You'll see purple glow invisible to the eye - because smartphone's camera is picking it. And that's 940nm - pretty close to the 1000nm used in SOFLAM.

Maffa added a subscriber: Maffa.May 7 2016, 3:52 PM
Maffa added a comment.Aug 7 2013, 9:44 AM

i dont have the necessary competence to discuss this, but since this is 2035 BIS can do whatever they want regardless of what is the situation in 2012, so this issue is reduced to a mere problem of game balancing (or difficulty and time to make yet another visual effect when you could cut corners)

All your nice videos do NOT show a laser designator, sorry to spoil the fun. Those are IR weapon lasers that point out targets for the aircraft. This is a common procedure.

A laser designator is made to not show the beam, otherwise you'd block your view with a bright laser. If you read your posted references, the thermal scope is optimized for spot detection, not beam detection. And the pulse frequency of the laser designator in paint mode is quite fast, in the old GTLD II you could hear the fast on-off sequence.

Night vision preferably works with 830 nm wavelength, if you read the thread you posted, you'd see the best results at the power level of night vision devices is 850 nm. And they were talking about a camera, not a helmet mounted NOD.

I might be the smartass again, but trust me, I've been through that discussion quite a few times in my modding days and also talked to actual JTACS/TACPs from the Gulf War because I thought the same as you do now.

But we do not have a SOFLAM in-game. This is a "cheap" turkish made laser designator that might work in a different way.

If you could pick up the laser, the spotter always will be the first target to be fired at, even if he is at great distances. Imagine it to be like switching on a light house at your position if the laser beam could be picked up just with night vision.

The smartphone thing is pretty irrelevant. We are not talking about cheap IR sources. The laser is a YAD high energy (24DCV) consuming long range painter. 2,3m² area @ 5km and you want to see a fat beam all over your screen when you are close to the target wearing NODs?

Doubt that.

Edit: here you can't see the laser beam in thermals...only the flashing pulses at the target

What you're saying is cool, but you're still wrong.

First, regarding the detection - why do you think modern armies use IR laser pointers? They are visible to any opponent wearing NVGs, so anyone using it is a target.
The answer is asymmetric warfare. Such things are reserved for lasing targets at day, when noone's wearing NVGs, or against targets which do not possess it. There was no conflict where both sides were technically advanced recently...

Second, you're confusing "optimal" and "still visible" wavelength for camera. There's a long "falloff" curve in sensitivity vs. wavelength graph of every camera.
See the following video:
Even cheap handheld digital camera captures 1064nm, BUT very dimly.

That's why you're wrong on your point about blinding - it won't blind you, because it will be barely visible. It's gonna be on the edge of the detectable range, but still inside it. It was outside for Gen 2 and Gen 3 devices (proof:, but Gen 4 (which' characterestics are classified at the moment) certainly do pick it up.

How do I know? Watch other videos.
There's a clearly visible laser from the helicopter guiding the missiles. And AH-64's and AH-1's use same Nd:YAG laser with 1064nm wavelength - hence, if you see it, you'll be able to see SOFLAM's laser.
Video of Apache attack captured through NV:

So nope, your smartarseness is wasted ;) I actually saw the video with SOFLAM being shown which emitted a beam fairly visible in NV. Problem is, I can't find it now - but I wouldn't be arguing if I didn't see it.

Okay, I must actually admit I can't really back my position here.
The point on lighting up a target with a weapon IR pointer does actually explain a lot in the videos. It's also possible that on the original video I was referring to a separate IR laser attachment was connected to the SOFLAM for whatever reason - I vaguely remember it being about some tests/training. So, I take my words back - I may be wrong here. I'll do additional research.

That said, "enemies can spot the source" is still a weak argument ;)

You are talking about this video which is an attached laser and not the designator itself.

And despite all those videos, they are still videos not first hand experience.

laser guided Vikhr seen through FLIR, still no laser, sorry

I guess you don't understand the logic behind invisible targeting lasers...or do you want the enemy to know who is targeted and from where? Oh yes, this would be fun...

I guess, you should tone down a little, shouldn't you?
You're still wrong about 1000 micrometers. That won't change.

Just to add to the discussion and some things i noticed.

I am not familiar with masers but reading on wiki i found that they work exactly the same way as the lasers .

Also masers as wiki says emit light across a broader band of the spectrum (as one can clearly see at the picture on the right) not just microwaves (oh and the picture is not a false color image)

Additionally lasers can be very exact to the frequency/wavelength they emit and that is very useful in military applications for various reasons .

Darkwanderer this is not an attack to you or anything but every video posted here shows exactly the opposite of what you say.

Every laser that is visible in the videos posted is a gun attachment laser designed to be visible in NV and its purpose is to point things at your mates that use NVG not to guide in bombs and missiles .

Not to say that pilots using NV cant see it or fire where it points but laser guided bombs/missiles do not lock or cant see this laser.

The video where a simple camera can see a 1064 nm wavelength laser is false.

I am not going to expand on the photoelectric effect and why it cannot see it but i will point out that you can actually see the paper burning and smoke rising , so what you actually see (what the camera sees) in the video is red/infrared light from the heated/burning surface of the paper and not the laser itself.

Also as thepredator said the laser of a designator is pulse-coded for a reason , each weapon has its own pulse-code to follow.

Now , my knowledge with NV and weapon systems in general is limited but to my knowledge what NV basically does (the site that darkwanderer posted suggest otherwise) is mostly multiplying/amplifying the available light to visible levels and less "looking" in IR/heat wavelengths .

I have to say that modern NV maybe made able to see more of the IR since the above method requires some minor lighting to function properly so newer systems might use more of the IR just in case of complete darkness situation but NV is not IR vision , there are devices specialized for IR that are much more sensitive .

And even the device (GEN III) from the site darkwanderer posted will not be able to see a laser of 1000 nm wavelength , not even 950 nm

Also visibility as thepredator said is a huge factor , i cannot stress you enough how important this is , as not only the "paint" on the target but the beam itself will be visible leading back to the operator .

Anyway , all these are not to say that the laser designator light is not detectable , there may be devices that are designed to do just that but i wouldnt expect NVG to do that , maybe a far-IR sensor could do it .

Again as I stated in the start what I said is my knowledge and my opinion only , I am not here to bash/attack/offend anyone , just to add and clear somethings up


Well... As I've already said, I'm wrong in some respects, but in some you, guys, are also not right.

First of all, I agree, I was wrong about the videos explanation - I already said that above. I was also wrong about the NV gear wavelength sensitivity - multiple sites say that it operates around 1000nm, but, as it goes from more scientific sources, it's more of 700-900nm.

HOWEVER, you guys are wrong about the masers and all that.
Here are three links:
They all explicitly state that SOFLAM's operating wavelength is 1064 nm, not 1000 micrometers. Also, see the characteristics of Nd:YAG laser:

Nd:YAG lasers typically emit light with a wavelength of 1064 nm, in the infrared.[3] However, there are also transitions near 940, 1120, 1320, and 1440 nm.

Nowhere near millimeter range. There's no and could never be a laser that can emit a microwave pulse.

And point three - no, smartphones can actually detect fairly long wavelength - because a smartphone camera is essentially a bare CMOS sensor with a very thin layer of glass or plastic onto it. CMOS are sensitive enough to pick 1100nm+ radiation - see
Again, try this at home - by your logic 940nm used in TV remotes would not be detectable. But they are.

That's not to say I was right about the initial premise - for this reason I'm closing the issue. But this is because I don't have any proof that any NV devices currently in service can detect such lasers, not because "they'd be spotted!!!" :)